What happened to the hobby?

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Thales

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I think there are five things at play
1. Local clubs seem to be shrinking and vanishing, and frag swaps evolved into frag sales
2. Indo/Fiji ban
3. The number of LFS seems to have shrunk. There used to be a dozen stores within 20 miles of me, now there is one (and a couple of horror shows)...and I am in the SF Bay area.
4. Smart vendors watched other vendors go out of business, and realized being in business is actually about money, so they raised their prices in order to stay in business. Selling at shows is also not cheap.
5. Livestock prices were never what they really should have been. Stuff was cheap, some still is, because the people doing the collection were/are doing it for pennies. Some of them are no longer willing to do it for pennies.

It always amazed me that the animals were so cheap, while all the equipment was not.
 

Brew12

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5. Livestock prices were never what they really should have been. Stuff was cheap, some still is, because the people doing the collection were/are doing it for pennies. Some of them are no longer willing to do it for pennies.
This is a great point. I know many hobbyists have set up special frag systems so they can sell coral. These are not cheap to set up and operate. You could sell frags for cheap when you were going to cut them to clear room in your DT anyway. Once you have a dedicated frag system you need to sell for more to make that investment pay off.
 

Thales

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This is a great point. I know many hobbyists have set up special frag systems so they can sell coral. These are not cheap to set up and operate. You could sell frags for cheap when you were going to cut them to clear room in your DT anyway. Once you have a dedicated frag system you need to sell for more to make that investment pay off.
And that has none of the expense of running a business. That kind of stuff is what helped shrink the LFS market because how can you compete with people that have such a reduced overhead.
 

sde1500

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Yup, everyone knows the equipment costs that go into setting up a tank. Now lease/rent/buy a large building and fill it full of that equipment. Like my LFS is doing, like WWC is doing, among many others. Take that cost and compare it to what it costs to put some pvc pipes or egg crate in the ocean, and pay someone a few dollars a day to tend it, plus shipping. How is it any wonder costs have gone up?
 

MnFish1

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I wonder if the vendors didnt keep making up these names and just let the pictures speak for them self - i.e. 'Blue/green acorapora'. with a picture showing an example Or 'multicolored acorapora - pinks, greens, yellows' with a picture - Then if there was some reason that its 'more rare' (i.e. from the line of xxxxxx) to justify the price. I'm surprised more vendors don't Come to these threads with responses.

But- fwiw - I dont buy 'designer corals'. And its kind of like having a degree from an Ivy League school compared to someone from a good public university - at first it may be 'easier' get the job - but after you're hired - no one cares. To me it's the same way with coral- when I or people look at my tank I dont say 'thats a Walt Disney, etc'
 

fish farmer

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High end corals and fish have always exist, but I'm not asking about those, I was asking about regular corals that you use to get even free, and now they cost hundreds of dollars.

I don't care paying the asking price of a coral or fish I like, but the new prices or regular corals that are available in a lot of tanks is a joke.

People asking $50 bucks for a xenia frag, when a few years back, people throw it in the trash.

I know you can still get cheap corals locally, with friends, or even what we use to do, buy expensive corals between friends, put it in the tank with more grow and frag later.
I'm curious what "regular corals" you are finding for hundreds of dollars and used to be free? From local hobbyists or LFS's giving freebies away? I've been in this hobby since 2000 and where I'm at in New England I've rarely come across $5 and $10 corals at LFS. One of the big stores near Boston had a frag tank and everything in there was $39...this was probably ten years ago. I can find local frags where I live usually around $15 to $40 for zoas and easy stuff like GSP. Small disc sized brain corals usually are around $40 to $50.

FWIW back in 2000 I bought green striped mushrooms on a palm sized rock for $21 and xenia on a rock for $27 and subsequently flooded the local market with xenia. I've bought a lot of frags over the years from Cultivated Reef....mostly has common stuff. Lots of beginner stuff under $50 and some acros under $100.
 

artieg1

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The Livestock Selling Forum on R2R is not "the market". For 95% of corals, frag prices have not budged since 2015. Fish, yes. Not coral, in my experience. A very small micro market has sprung up in certain currently popular corals. But my LFS still has the same $20/$30/$40 frag selection it did in 2015, covering several dozen different types of coral, none with the name "indo" or "gold" in them.
 

WVNed

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I got $5 frags from the LFS last year. It is gone now. I was buying stuff that fell off frag plugs as well for 5-10 dollars.
Honestly is seems hit and miss. I get some that are well worth what I paid and others I cant believe they sent me.
$30 xenia frag from LA.
 

Thales

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I got $5 frags from the LFS last year. It is gone now. I was buying stuff that fell off frag plugs as well for 5-10 dollars.

There were a couple stores around me that tried this model - they are also closed.
 

WVNed

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There were a couple stores around me that tried this model - they are also closed.
I think the guy had mental health issues. I had been going there since 1985. I saw some interactions between him and other people that were creepy. He had a good thing going then it kind of blew up and the place went to pot. One day I was there and people from 3 other states had driven in and we were all buying stuff and talking about our systems. A few months later and it was empty tanks with dead fish and aiptasia
and the guy was screaming about cleaning the rat cages.

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Stoney

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There were a couple stores around me that tried this model - they are also closed.
FWIW Neptune Aquatics in the San Jose area have a big $10 frag section and they appear to be thriving. Weekends are absolutely packed and they've got at least a dozen employees. I imagine most are part time, but still much more than I'd expect.
 

MnFish1

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It's the bans combined with the increase in the number of hobbyists.

People are forgetting that there are many times more hobbyists now than there was 10 years ago.

You have a decrease in coral supply and an increase in demand. You can expect prices to go up to match that demand.
There is also inflation -a 10 $ frag from 2005 should cost $15 in 2019. a 100$ fish should cost $150. I've looked at the data on the number of hobbyists over time - and though its increased over time - I dont think it has increased 'many fold' since 10 years ago - but - if it has -where have you gotten that information.
 
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Halal Hotdog

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I'm curious what "regular corals" you are finding for hundreds of dollars and used to be free? From local hobbyists or LFS's giving freebies away? I've been in this hobby since 2000 and where I'm at in New England I've rarely come across $5 and $10 corals at LFS. One of the big stores near Boston had a frag tank and everything in there was $39...this was probably ten years ago. I can find local frags where I live usually around $15 to $40 for zoas and easy stuff like GSP. Small disc sized brain corals usually are around $40 to $50.

FWIW back in 2000 I bought green striped mushrooms on a palm sized rock for $21 and xenia on a rock for $27 and subsequently flooded the local market with xenia. I've bought a lot of frags over the years from Cultivated Reef....mostly has common stuff. Lots of beginner stuff under $50 and some acros under $100.
I think this might be specific to your area. At my LFS in 2000 most frags were between $5-$15, with a few colonies being $50+. That has changed quite considerably now, but their selection has also grown.
 

Dom

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Two things have happened; instant gratification and greed.

People want magnificent displays right away, and they are willing to pay anything to get it as soon as possible.

Farming businesses see this and charge ridiculous money for coral frags that I buy 3 for $25.00!

If buyers would exercise some self restraint, sales would slow down and prices would come down.
 

fish farmer

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I think this might be specific to your area. At my LFS in 2000 most frags were between $5-$15, with a few colonies being $50+. That has changed quite considerably now, but their selection has also grown.
Good point, I rarely saw frags at my LFS in 2000 unless they were an acro. The prices I quoted for the mushrooms and xenia was from one of the know stores in New England, Inland Reef Aquaria...it was mostly colonies of softies or LPS.
 

flsalty

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Didn't know about the indo ban, but that shouldn't have affect farm grow corals that are already avaliable everywhere.

I think greedy and dump people are responsible for this, paying $800 for a golden torch, you've got to be kidding.

It seems I'll go with local hobbiest, and want I can find in the price ranges I consider fair.
Totally agree here. To blame the Indo ban is to say every single pre-ban coral has died. The ban is just used as an excuse to raise prices. Those $800 torches are still just torches. They aren't rare. They are just a different color.
It amazes me how SO many people, especially in this hobby are so clueless on how supply/demand economics work. The "ThiS GeNERaTioN CrEAtEd BeCaUse TheY waNt InStanT GrAtifiCaTioN' has to be the worst explanation yet.....
It amazes me that anyone thinks supply and demand has anything at all to do with coral prices.
 

Stoney

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Two things have happened; instant gratification and greed.

People want magnificent displays right away, and they are willing to pay anything to get it as soon as possible.
If this were the case, wouldnt people be buying colonies? I dont understand how buying expensive 1/2" frags accelerates the process.
 
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